Lonely Planet Writer

It’s easy being green in Kraków with the introduction of 18 pocket parks

It’s set to be a green year for Kraków in 2018 with the arrival of 18 new so-called ‘pocket parks’. These parks, named for their size of under 5000 sq metres and inspired by an idea born in New York, are part of a project created by the Kraków Municipal Greenspace Authority (ZZM) as a way to increase green spaces in heavily built-up areas.

Krakow, main square with St. Mary's basilica
Krakow is creating 18 ‘pocket parks’. Photo by: GettyImages/Maria Swärd Image by GettyImages/Maria Swärd

Three of the parks have already been created, one of which was a ‘Butterfly Park’ designed by students of Kraków’s Jagiellonian University. Teaming together with Kraków Municipal Greenspace Authority, they crowdfunded the money in under two months to create the first park of its kind in Europe in August 2017. It features native wildflowers, trees, hedges, and solar lighting which imitates fireflies to attract butterflies. There’s also an educational butterfly playground for children, as well as benches adorned with the word ‘butterfly’ in different languages.

The popularity of the butterfly park, as well two others located on Prusa Street and Królowej Jadwigi Street, has provided the impetus to create a further 18. Each will carry a theme, such as a literature, complete with reading nooks and small bookcases; and technology, featuring air filters and charging ports.

Planty Park, Krakow
Krakow wants more green spaces like this one. Planty Park, in Krakow city centre. Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The parks will be spread over Kraków’s 18 districts — one for each — giving families a communal area where they can rest, take their children and pets, and enjoy the biodiversity of a green space that’s within 5-15 minutes of their home.

Kraków Municipal Greenspace Authority is already underway with some of the new parks, with plans to design and start creating all 18 this year.

By Amy Hornsby